How to make photo mug cups

Updated April 17, 2017

Transfer your own design or photographs to a plain mug, to personalise the mug and exercise your creativity. You can also buy personalised mugs, but it’s much cheaper to create them yourself using transfer paper. Make your own mugs for a small business with a business logo on them, or give customised mugs away as presents during the holidays and for other celebrations.

Print out a digital image of your photo or design on transfer paper. Transfer paper can be found at most local arts and crafts supply stores. If you have drawn your design, you will need to scan the design into the computer first, and then print it out.

Cut out the design on the transfer paper using scissors and cutting close to the border of the design.

Dunk the design briefly in water.

Apply the image to the mug, with the image side facing the mug. Peel the backing away from the transfer paper.

Dry the transfer using a hair dryer or by placing the mug in the oven with a low heat setting for 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, allow the mug to air dry.


The image will be reversed when you transfer it to the mug. If this is a problem, use your printer's settings to reverse the image when you print it out. The reversed image will display correctly once it's transferred to the mug


Exercise caution when taking the mug out of the oven. It will be hot, so use oven gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain white ceramic mug
  • Scissors
  • Computer
  • Inkjet printer
  • Transfer paper
  • Bowl of water
  • Oven or fan
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About the Author

Nicole Carlin is a yoga and dance teacher and founder of POP Fizz Academy in Philadelphia. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Temple University and a Master of Arts in gender and sexuality, politics from Birkbeck University, London. Carlin has written about dance, crafts, travel and alternative health for eHow, and Demand Studios.